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David Cameron: the Church must shape our values

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David Cameron: the Church must shape our values

David Cameron warned the Church of England that it must keep to an "agenda that speaks to the whole country" as he said Britain should be proud to be a "Christian country".

In a landmark speech on religion, the Prime Minister said that the country had been "unwilling" to "distinguish right from wrong", but warned "moral neutrality is not going to cut it any more".

He said that Britain was at a "pivotal moment" in the wake of the riots and the financial crisis and that the Church must play a central role in reshaping the country.

But, in a coded attack on the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Prime Minister warned that the Church must "keep on the agenda that speaks to the whole country".

"I certainly don't object to the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing his views on politics," Mr Cameron said, but "he shouldn't be surprised when I respond".

His comments come after Dr Rowan Williams criticised government spending cuts and the Coalition's democratic legitimacy.

The Prime Minister decided to make his first detailed speech on religion in the wake of the summer riots and the financial crisis which he blames on moral failings.

Downing Street aides were concerned about the speech, which unusually received little publicity before being made.

Mr Cameron also disclosed details of his own faith following criticism from Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist, that the Prime Minister is "not really a Christian". "I am a committed – but I have to say vaguely practising – Church of England Christian, who will stand up for the values and principles of my faith," Mr Cameron said. But he added he was "full of doubts" and "constantly grappling" with the big theological issues.

Mr Cameron made the speech as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of the King James Bible at Christ Church, Oxford, the cathedral where Dr Williams was formerly canon.

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6 minutes ago

"The sins of this country cry out to God for his righteous judgement; the state sanctioned abortion holocaust, toleration and promotion of homosexuality, toleration of pornography and perversion, the culture of gambling both in the bookies and in the city, perversion in the media. On and on."

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